Time to investigate the sound
From the engine to the brakes, your car makes a variety of sounds while you drive down the highway. As you drive to and from work, to school to pick up the kids and to the grocery store to get dinner, you have learned what noises are normal for your car to make and when something doesn’t sound quite right.
Consider this scenario: As you are driving home from the mall, you hear a loud squealing sound while driving along. It sounds like it is coming from the front of the vehicle, possibly from the tires. Could it be a problem with the wheel hub assembly or wheel bearings?
Before you can make a definitive diagnosis, you’ll need to do a little detective work. By paying close attention to the clues that your car gives and going through the following steps, you’ll be able to determine if you are dealing with a noisy wheel hub assembly.
The most common symptom of a bad wheel hub assembly or wheel bearing is a rumbling, squealing, growling or chirping noise coming from the wheel or tire area of your car. Many times, the noise will change with the speed of your vehicle – it may worsen as you accelerate and become less noticeable as you drive at slower speeds. Listen carefully as you drive your car to see if the noise only happens at certain speeds, if it gets louder as you turn, or if there are times that it disappears completely.
Does it feel like you have little control over your car and it is going where it wants as you try to steer? Steering wheel play or a loose steering wheel feel are more symptoms of a failing wheel hub assembly. Referring to how the vehicle steers, a bad wheel hub bearing can cause your car to feel loose when steering. As the bearing inside the wheel hub assembly starts to show signs of wear, it becomes loose, which in turn makes your car feel loose when steering.
A bad wheel hub assembly can also lead to uneven tire wear. The combination of steering wheel play and the vibration going through the wheels can make your tires wear unevenly, causing you to need to replace them sooner than under normal conditions.
After going through these steps, you are convinced that you have a noisy wheel hub assembly. Armed with this information, it is time to take your vehicle to your trusted mechanic to have him confirm the diagnosis and make the needed repairs. Driving with a worn or loose wheel hub assembly is extremely dangerous. You run the risk of having the wheel separate from the vehicle and losing control of the steering.
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